THE MAGIC OF SOLAR PANELS
Magic or reality How do solar panels work?
Solar energy is the main energy source of the future and there is much data that indicates this. In 2020, the total installed capacity of photovoltaic systems in Spain increased by 30% and it is increasingly attractive to have solar panels on roofs that produce green energy. Solar panels, in addition to being an excellent investment for the environment and for your pocket, will also increase the value of your home.
What are solar panels or panels and how do they work?
Solar panels are made up of solar cells, which are responsible for transforming solar radiation into electricity. When solar radiation strikes a solar cell, a voltage difference is created between the front of the solar panel, which is negatively charged, and the back of the solar panel, which is positively charged. This voltage difference generates energy in the form of direct current. This energy, passing through the inverter, transforms direct current into alternating current, and it is this alternating current that you can consume or send to the network as surplus.
Advantages and disadvantages of solar panels
Solar power is one of the most environmentally friendly energy options you can choose from. The sun is an unlimited resource and as long as the sun shines, we are guaranteed this source of energy that provides 100% renewable electricity. For this reason, photovoltaic is the most profitable self-consumption renewable energy on the market.
By installing a photovoltaic system, you are doing the environment a favor by helping to reduce your use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. Although some energy is required to make the solar panels, it only takes about 2.5 years, out of the estimated lifespan of a solar panel plant of 25 to 30 years, for the solar panels to produce as much energy as is needed. This is called the recovery time of the energy from the solar panels.
When looking at what it costs to install solar panels, the initial cost can be perceived as a small disadvantage of solar energy. However, the investment is very small in relation to the savings obtained during the useful life of the photovoltaic system. The payback period for solar panels is usually between 5 and 9 years. By producing your own electricity, you will be able to largely cover the electricity consumption of the whole house, this means being more independent from other electricity producers, from the big electricity companies and from their prices. In addition, the value of your home increases and is revalued thanks to the installation of solar panels, partly because the operating costs are lower, partly because more and more people demand environmentally sustainable housing in the real estate market.
Are solar panels efficient?
The amount of solar energy produced by solar panels per year is affected by a number of factors. In summer we usually have a surplus of solar energy, while in winter we have to compensate with other energy sources since peak solar hours are lower. But it is possible to make estimates of the expected power of solar panels based on the efficiency of the solar cells and the amount of energy produced (kWh) per installed kW.
Iberian Energy Storage’s solar panels have an efficiency of around 20-22%, which means that around 20-22% of the solar energy produced by the solar panels is converted into electricity.
When it comes to the measurement of kWh per installed kW, it is generally said that one installed kW produces around 800-1100 kWh per year. If your photovoltaic system has a maximum power of 2.5 kWp, they can produce between 2,000 and 2,750 kWh of solar energy per year.
In addition to solar hours, efficiency, and the number of kWh per installed kW, there are other factors that affect the amount of electricity produced by solar panels.
- Solar radiation where you live.
- Shadows on the solar panels from surrounding objects such as trees, chimneys, buildings, etc.
- Weather lines that your solar panels point to.
- Pending on the solar panels.
- The size of the surface on which the solar modules will be placed.
- Snow on the solar panels.
- Dirt on the solar panels.
Different types of solar panels
The three most common types of solar panels on the market are monocrystalline solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels, and amorphous or thin-film solar panels. Different types of solar panels are developed for different conditions.
Monocrystalline solar panels have been on the market for longer and are the solar panels that we associate with solar panels for individuals and that solar cells can produce solar energy with less solar radiation and in this way we can take advantage of even the least sunny days.
Polycrystalline solar panels are the most common solar panels on the market, but are considered to have slightly lower efficiency than monocrystalline panels. These panels are often seen in large facilities and farms with lots of space.
Both the appearance and manufacturing process of thin film solar panels are different from crystalline solar panels. Specifically, the material can be made flexible, opening up the possibility of using thin-film solar panels on rounded surfaces. For example, thin-film solar panels can be glued directly to shingles.